Officials punished for rebel jailbreak

  • Reuters, Raipur
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 17, 2007 13:54 IST

Embarrassed authorities in Chhattisgarh have stepped up prison security and suspended five officials after jailed Maoist rebels overpowered guards and freed 299 inmates, authorities said on Monday.

The five officials have been suspended from the prison pending an inquiry and officials have asked neighbouring states for help to catch the escapees, who fled on Sunday.

Authorities have also ordered guards to be more vigilant at the main jails in capital Raipur and Bilaspur, which also house captured Maoist rebels.

Despite the prison being an obvious target for Maoist rebels, only two guards were on duty when a group of rebel prisoners grabbed their rifles and overpowered them, police said.

They then set free their fellow inmates.

Chhattisgarh is a stronghold of the rebels who operate in at least 13 Indian states.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. The conflict has killed thousands of people, including hundreds of policemen, in the past three decades.

 

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